If someone names you the executor of their will in Pennsylvania, it's never too early to start preparing yourself for your duties. You'll be responsible for managing their entire estate, and it's much more complicated than digging up their will and handing it to an attorney. Here's some of the duties you might have to take on when the individual passes away.
What are the duties of the executor of an estate?
Finding the will is the biggest task of estate administration. Without the will, the rest of the process can't proceed. If necessary, you'll have to get access to the individual's house and find where they've stored their will. You should also take steps to protect the house from thieves and family members who might want to sneak in and steal assets before they're officially divided.
Once you've found the will, you'll need to cancel the individual's credit cards, appointments and anything else that needs to be taken care of. If they had any prescription drugs in their house, you'll need to figure out how to dispose of them safely. You'll also have to store their valuables in a secure area.
The executor of an estate is also responsible for hiring an attorney and taking care of expenses. You can use the estate itself to pay off some of the debts, fees, taxes and anything else that needs to be paid before the distribution of assets. Your attorney can assist you during this process, but you're ultimately responsible for paying debts, gathering assets and selling off properties. A creditor could theoretically sue you if they don't get paid.
Near the end of the process, you'll have to write an inventory of the assets and expenses and send it to the beneficiaries. Once they've signed off on your inventory, they can receive their portion of the estate.
Get help during the process
Estate administration is always challenging, but an attorney may provide valuable advice and assistance during this time. An attorney may be able to limit the amount of time that the estate spends in probate so that the beneficiaries get their bequest as soon as possible.